Veganize It: Buffalo Wings

It’s still chilly and I’m dreaming of hot buffalo wings and ranch dressing. It’s a comforting twist of hot and creamy. There’s also an element of pure trashy, fried food if you want it.

Here is Alton Brown’s recipe from the Food Network.
12 whole chicken wings (WINGS are for FLYING Alton not frying!)
3 ounces unsalted butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

OUR awesome and vegan ingredients!
12 or so vegan chicken wings (May Wah brand at Honest Weight Coop or you could use tempeh strips or Beyond Meat or Gardein brand)
3-5 oz melted vegan margarine
1 small garlic clove
1/4c-1/2c Red Hot or hot sauce of choice
1/8-1/4c nutritional yeast (trust me)

Bake wings (if May Wah brand) for about 10 minutes before drowning in hot sauce mix, then bake 8-10 more minutes or until done. If using Gardein, Beyond Meat, or tempeh strips- dip in hot sauce mix and bake for 10-15 minutes or more depending on level of desired crispiness. You can also dip them again in the hot sauce after cooking if you like it really messy.

Pair with my really rad ranch dressing recipe below and some celery/carrot sticks while contemplating the meaning of life (and cuddling with a cute kitten).
Sarah’s Ranch Dressing
1 container Mori-NU silken tofu (it’s not all created equal)
2 heaping TBSP vegan mayo
1-2 TBSP lemon juice
2-6 pinches/dashes nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery seed
salt and pepper to taste

Blend all in food processor. I sometimes add more nutritional yeast and lemon juice after tasting, it depends on what you like.


Veganize It: Mac and Cheese!

Welcome to the very first installment of “Veganize It!”. I (Sarah) will feature a non-vegan recipe and show you how easy it is to make it vegan. Get ready to learn some sweet vegan moves in the kitchen as I teach you the basics and then some. Put on yo’ oven mitts or apron and get ready to EAT!

First up, a super delicious and decadent dish that everyone loves…mac and cheese. Not just any mac and cheese either. PAULA DEEN’S creamiest mac and cheese. Why not? Here is the link to the original recipe:
I will repost the original recipe’s ingredients and then our recipe replacements so you can start to learn how to veganize common dishes. Enjoy and be sure to follow the ingredients on the BOTTOM (please don’t eat Paula’s). :)

Paula’s Recipe
2 cups elbow macaroni (8 ounces)
3 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
8 slices American cheese

Our recipe!!!
2 cups wheat elbow macaroni OR gf brown rice macaroni
3 tbsp earth balance or coconut butter
(We won’t be using an egg replacer here!)
1 cup almond, soy, or plant milk of choice!
½ tsp-1 tsp salt (dang Paula!)
½ tsp black pepper¼ tsp mustard powder
pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
1 ½ cups Daiya vegan cheddar cheese
¼ cup- ½ cup tofutti cream cheese OR a cashew cheese spread OR sunflower seed spread (soy free)
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp cornstarch or tapioca starch
2 tbsp sesame tahini
1 ½ tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp flour (wheat or chickpea)

OUR directions:

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Drain well and return the pasta to the pot. Add the butter and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted and the pasta is coated.

IN a separate medium saucepan, whisk the milk, pepper, salt, mustard powder, paprika, nutritional yeast, flour, starch, ketchup, tahini, and lemon juice over medium heat. Stir continuously until thick. Add in the cheeses and stir with a spoon until cheese is all melted and well combined. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and stir well. EAT! You can also pour it into a casserole dish and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is crispy (just like Grandma used to make!).

Valentines Day Specials!

Valentines Day Sweets

Available for pre-order by February 12th!



*Rose Cupcakes by the dozen (chocolate or vanilla, available gluten free) $30

*GANACHE covered organic strawberries, 4 for $4.99

* Large Heart sugar cookies 4 for $8.00

*Small Valentines sugar cookies 6 for $8.00

*Heart sugar cookies with custom messages 2 for $5.00

*Ganache covered strawberries can be added to any treat for .50 cents extra.

We will also have a variety of 4 inch cakes, decadent donuts, french silk pie, bars, decadent canoes, and MORE for sale that day!


New Year, New Plans

It’s 2014, and we’re proud to announce our new line of X’s to O’s Automatic Dispensing Cupcake-Bots, available for residential or commercial use! Bleep bloop!

Just kidding.

We’re excited to share another year with our customers and local community, and we are thankful for all the support and recognition we received in 2013. Most notably, our recent gift card sale was an incredible success, as well as a much-needed boost to our motivation and creativity.

In the spirit of the new year and how futuristic it seems (Twenty…fourteen… where are the hoverboards?!), we are turning over lots of new ideas for the bakery. We want to expand our wholesale deliveries to new locations, potentially increase hours at our retail location, raise awareness of our healthy lunch options downtown, host more events, and continue to develop our savory menu (potentially with made-to-order hot items). While we have ideas and plans for new developments, we would love your input on what YOU would like—stores and restaurants for us to sell to, what hours you would like to see and utilize in our shop (i.e. would you rather we were open earlier? Later?) events to hold or be a vendor at, and so on. While perhaps we can’t make every dream come true (no water park on the roof… it’s a bummer, we know), we really do take suggestions into account. Our four years here have been built on the relationships we’ve made—from long-time vegans in the capital region, to neighbors who enjoy a decadent treat here and there, lunch-goers, customers with allergies, to people looking for healthy food options, a late weekend brunch, a good WiFi connection, or a place to have a cup of coffee with a friend. We are grateful for everyone who walks in, and we want to hear more feet creaking across our old Troy floors! So let us know what brings you here, and what would make your day.

We look forward to your feedback, and to seeing you in the new year!


X’s to O’s Needs Your Help!!!

X’s to O’s needs your help!

The Bad News: We need to raise money to stay open.

The Good News: We have a fabulous gift card promotion just in time for the Holidays! Buy one between now and December 11th, and redeem your card after January 10th when it will increase in value by 15%.

The Details: We currently need $2500 by December 11th in order to stay open. About a year ago, National Grid did not bill us for a period of 6 months. With all the responsibilities and chaos of single-handedly managing the business, I most unfortunately did not notice the lack of invoices from them. As you might imagine, this accumulated into a large sum of money. We were taken off the budget plan because of the lapse, and while I have personally spent a dozen hours on the phone with them trying to work something out, they refuse to accept smaller payments. I have spoken to many different representatives, all of whom tell me something different or, in some cases totally wrong; misinformation has exacerbated this problem into the crisis that it is now. Despite their mistakes and inconsistencies throughout this year, I’ve never been able to get them to agree to work with me. They do not budge on commercial accounts, and now we must pay $2500 or our electric will be shut off.

I have an extremely hard time asking for help—while running a small business is never easy, this is the most serious obstacle the bakery has experienced. This is where we need you! We are running a special gift card promotion to get through this, because we want to be able to show our appreciation for you in return. We will be selling $25, $50, and $100 gift certificates, now through December 11th. These certificates will increase in value by 15% after January 10th. This means you not only get what you paid for, but additional goodies, too! These will make perfect holiday gifts for you, your friends, and loved ones, and you will help us stay open! This bakery is NOT finished… we want to keep making veganism accessible to everyone. We love making you delicious treats and exciting food, and we have big dreams for growth in the future. Please consider buying a gift card!

The certificates will be available in our physical location and online in our webstore. If you are local, but can’t get here in time, you can buy one online and it can be mailed to you or picked up in the store. If you are not local, you may buy one online and use it for online ordering (shipping not included)!

Buy a gift card here!

Remember to get your gift card by December 11th to help us avoid shut off. Thank you SO much. We love you all!

UPDATE!!!  WE MADE IT!  We will still run the gift card promo until Christmas so everyone can enjoy free treats if they want!  Thank you so very much everyone!  The amount of generosity and compassion that we have seen in the past 24 hours has been amazing.  We are definitely feeling loved and big things are sure to come from us!  <3

Thoughts on Fat

Have you heard about the new trans fat ban? Since 2006, the FDA has required that foods containing trans fats be clearly labeled, but this year the committee is determining the length of a phase-out plan that will take them off the market forever.

According to the Huffington Post, this ban was proposed 9 years ago! With over 15 years of research, the evidence against trans fats is very disturbing. While they are going out of style fast, they are not gone yet and they are present in some foods that are technically vegan. It’s a good time to consider where our fats come from, since not all are created equally. We have never used trans fats, but we thought that this was an opportunity to discuss the wonderful world of delicious, healthy vegan fats! 


At the bakery, we occasionally receive two very different responses from curious new customers, and they are both illuminating about cultural conceptions around fat, as well as towards veganism. “Oh my God, if I worked here, I’d be XXX pounds and would never stop eating.” Or, “These are vegan? Does that mean they’re low-fat?” There’s a lot to unpack around these statements–we live in a society with a myriad of health problems, weight problems, endless dieting, and body shaming. We feel that healthy bodies come in a variety of shapes, and that a vegan diet with a healthy dose of self-love, the occasional indulgence, and a sense of moderation can be part of a solution to these problems. None of us could eat a dozen cupcakes   (sadly, no, they are not low-fat) every day and feel fantastic–we need to access the full spectrum of nutrients available to us in fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, beans, and oils in order to feel our best. Fats contain the highest density of calories and have effects that can become negative when we over-utilize them. Bodies and diets even within veganism vary from person to person, but generally 20%-35% of our calories each day should come from fat (World Health Organization). Fat is necessary for basic cell functions and regenerations, the digestion of vitamins and minerals, keeping us warm, and in some cases, keeping us happy! Mmm, avocado…


The lovely part about fat in a balanced vegan diet is that many nuts, seeds, and some oils naturally contain mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which have positive effects on cholesterol levels, heart health, diabetes prevention, and blood pressure. They contain the much praised Omega-3′s, Omega-6′s, and ALA. Saturated fats, found in palm oil and coconut products, should be used in moderation. Other non-essential but helpful fats are DHA and EPA, which are typically touted in traditional diets through fish and fish oil supplements. However, even beyond ethical or environmental reasons for not eating fish, fatty fish are highly contaminated with pollutants and mercury–ick! Both DHA and EPA supplements can be found in vegan form through a health food store or online.


For practical purposes, we have to say that we are not medical professionals–this is simply sharing our knowledge! Bakery favorites for fat include hemp seeds, flax seeds, nut butters, avocado, olive oil, and of course, the a brownie here and there!


Here are some of our book recommendations for further reading on diet and fats:


Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina

Vegan for Life by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina

The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier


Happy eating!

Palm Oil

The controversy surrounding palm oil is a serious issue for X’s to O’s–we are frequently asked about its presence in our products, and as a vegan-owned business, it is also a personal concern. We wanted to address our stance on the topic for our customers, to explain our own  research, and better define where our ingredients are sourced from.
Indonesian palm oil comes at a massive cost–its production there is burning rainforest, directly and indirectly murdering countless animals, particularly orangutans, uprooting indigenous families, causing toxic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, using child and slave labor; the list of its practices and consequences is horrifying.
Deeply concerned about our own products, we read thoroughly on the topic and inquired to our suppliers, through which we found that not all palm oil is the same. Produced in many locations around the globe, the circumstances under which palm is harvested varies widely, and yes, CAN be done sustainably. Currently, the best known example of this is in West Africa, where palm is native and in most cases, organic. Small family farms there can produce fairly without clear-cutting; Dr. Bronner’s and Alaffia both source their palm this way.
Currently, our palm shortening is organically sourced from Brazil, not Indonesia. While all intensive commercial farming has its problems, Brazil’s palm production process is significantly different and has less impact on the ecosystem and it’s human and non-human inhabitants. According to Yale University’s Environment 360 publication, “Brazil’s current Forest Code requires landowners in the Amazon to keep 80 percent of their land forested, which means that a company cannot only buy a block of pasture in the Amazon, it must also secure — or pay the cost of — a forest reserve several times the size of the palm plantation.” The shift of palm production to Brazil could also detract from the cattle ranching business there. “Replacing cattle pasture with palm oil plantations also offers significant environmental benefits, as palm trees — though not nearly as valuable ecologically as rainforest — at least sequester carbon and evapotranspirate moisture, which is important to the hydrological cycle of rainforests.”
Our other palm ingredient which is hotly contested is Earth Balance. They explain their sources openly on their website: “Thirty percent of our palm oil comes from Brazil. Our Brazil-sourced palm oil is 100% organic and is used in all of our organic products (and because orangutans are not native to South America, the Brazilian palm industry does not adversely impact their wellbeing). The remaining 70% of our palm oil comes from responsible sources in peninsular Malaysia (also a non-native orangutan habitat), which are all members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the leading global organization developing and implementing global standards for sustainable palm oil production. We insist on continuing assurances from our suppliers that all palm fruit oil purchased for Earth Balance®complies with the RSPO policies, and we are committed to terminating any suppliers that violate these policies.”
When this issue comes up by those who avoid palm, we are typically asked why we  don’t use coconut oil instead of Earth Balance. The cost of this is so prohibitive that we would not be able to stay open unless we at least tripled our prices ($8-$10 per cupcake) and somehow maintained sales at that increased level!  It is already difficult as a small business to survive while using quality, organic products. While we never look towards profit over ethics, the best solution for us is to continually search for the most sustainable and ethical sources of palm oil. We currently are looking to find a supplier that obtains palm from its native, organic home in Africa. As this is an ongoing, global problem, we are committed to regularly examining how to purchase the best sources.



Sarah and Andee tabling last weekend at Worcester Veg Fest. Look at all those treats!

Mac and cheese with broccoli and pine nuts
Orange ginger quinoa salad with toasted almonds
Hummus sandwich with roasted red pepper and portobello bacon
TLT’s with sprouts
Curried lentil veggie soup

Plus tons and tons of treats!


Spring is here and we’ve got a lot of exciting stuff happening at the bakery!

Our baked goods are now available in the Colonie Shoprite!


X’s to O’s treats in the new Colonie Shoprite!

That’s right, our cakes, cupcakes, blondies, and more are now even more accessible to the masses! The new Shoprite (which just had a grand opening this weekend!) is located at 1730 Central Avenue. You can find our treats in the bakery and deli.

Worcester Veg Fest
We’ll have a table set up this weekend at the Worcester Veg Fest! If you’ve never been, the Worcester Veg Fest is a great place to meet other vegans and activists, learn about new causes, see presentations by people who are doing great things, and eat delicious food. Stop by to say hi!