7/30/11

Restaurant Review: Fresh Thymes Cafe | Wilmington, DE

Exterior of Fresh Thymes. How I wish I could make them a better sign! (Pic taken w/ my notiPhone.)

Half of the vegan veggie burger (made in Portland, not in house), the quinoa tabouleh, and the pesto sandwich.

My favorite part of the meal--the chilled savory watermelon soup! GF, vegan c/c cookie by Sweet Christine's.
There aren't many choices in Delaware for vegans or vegetarians to dine out. Sure, there's pizza, burritos, some Chinese take-out, but there is no dedicated vegetarian restaurant. We have resigned ourselves to 1/2 hour drives to Philadelphia when the cravin' strikes or when the elusive date night happens. Such a drag!

On Friday, our kids were both in camp, Mr. Scissors had the day off and we were absolutely overwhelmed with our new found freedom! What should we do? After some debate, we narrowed the possibilities down to some thrifting and to check out a cafe in the Trolley Square neighborhood of Wilmington, DE called Fresh Thymes.

Even though they do have some meat items on the menu, they specialize in vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and raw foods. The menu is simple: breakfast items, salads, soups and sandwiches. Half-expecting it to suck, we had low expectations and we ended up pleasantly surprised. We loved our sandwiches and the side of the quinoa tabouleh. The cold watermelon soup with peaches and blueberries was out of this world good--savory, sweet and refreshing. The meal was simple and very tasty. Fresh Thymes tries to use local, fresh and organic ingredients and you could taste the care and attention that went into the making of our lunch. A mom and daughter team own and operate the cafe, and they are very sweet and attentive. Most of all, I am just happy we have a local place to go that doesn't involve pizza. We'll definitely come back on another lunch date. I wish they had a juice bar, that would put it over the top for me. Almost forgot! They have gluten free baked goods--one that is vegan-- by Sweet Christine's in West Chester, PA (cookie was good for gluten-free!). Daily specials are announced on their Facebook page, so like them to stay in touch.

Really my only grumble--the prices are pretty steep. The veggie burger was $10. Wow. You don't even pay that in NYC! But, I guess the meals are organic, but still! $10?

Not in the area? Just driving through the first state? If you follow a raw, vegan or vegetarian diet and are in need of a place to lunch while you are venturing through Wilmington, Delaware, it's worth the short 5 minutes it takes to get there from 95.

Fresh Thymes Cafe
1836 North Lovering
Wilmington, DE 19806
(302) 656-2026
www.facebook.com/#!/freshthymes

7/29/11

Spice in the Kitchen: Cookies for Ms. Hische

I've been on self-imposed baking ban. It's not because it's too hot (actually, it is crazy hot, but we have central air, thank you previous owner), but because I just should not be eating cookies. Problem is, I love, love, love to bake, I just now need a reason or an excuse to fire up the oven. Jessica Hische was coming to my husband's studio. Aha! An excuse! After he left to meet her, I realized that I should have made her something for her The Internet Sends Me Cake site.

The kids were already home from camp, so I had to use what was one hand. Cookies are easy to travel with so I whipped up my default cookie, The Mocha Fudge cookie (just add 1 TB of espresso powder to that recipe), and because I like to pretend I am a professional baker, I did a quick packaging job, complete with label. I'm so corny, but hey, it's fun practice. I could not for the life of me get the logo to print centered, so I made due. My husband said to me, "Looks like we need to get you labels printed!" Why, yes we do! Glad you enjoyed the cookies, Jessica, and thanks for the shout out.

7/28/11

Blog Lust: B. Dunlap


Wow. I came across the work of B. Dunlap via Pinterest today. I am blown away. When I was about 6 or 7, my mother gave me a Crayola calligraphy set for Christmas and my love of lettering was born. I would practice every day with those chiseled markers. I soon abandoned that style for bubble letters (and lower case e's that looked like Pacman) and then graffiti, but I will always have a soft spot for calligraphy. I am constantly in awe of people who make it look so effortless like B. Check out the other work on her blog. It's all drool worthy!

Join the fun on Pinterest; follow Scissors and Spice!

Score: Vintage (Not) Pryex Bowl


I don't know what it is with me and bowls. I just have a thing for them. Add a cute flower pattern and I just have to give in! I picked this cutie up today and am debating on wether to keep it or put it in the Etsy shop. Decisions, decisions...

Spice in the Kitchen: Vegan Chk'n Chow Fun Soup


When I first became a vegetarian, the thought of mock meats really grossed me out. I never even really liked to eat meat, so why should I eat some tasteless version of it. Well, that was, yikes, 16-17 years ago and fake meat has come a long way. They even sell veggie deli slices at Target! So even though the hip thing to do now is to eat "locavore" foodie-snob meat, vegetarians and vegans have made quite an impact on the food industry and our choices are better than ever.

Now, I write that to explain to my non-veg readers what on earth that very meaty looking substance is on the top of this soup. It's pressed tofu bean skin made to look like chicken. So realistic! It doesn't have much flavor, but when you coat it with flavor, you really can't tell the difference.

I bought the mock chicken at an Asian grocery that specializes in all sorts of vegetarian goods right near my favorite vegan buffet, Su Tao. I also found these square, thin noodles and thought I'd try them. Turned out they were a chow fun noodle! My fav!

I'm still not 100% about this recipe, so I will post ingredients/directions when I nail it. Sometimes experiments just don't work. I basically stir fried zukes, Chinese kale, soy beans, and carrots added broth and then the noodles. My broth was way off. I should have referenced an Asian soup recipe or done a miso broth. Then I did a quick fry of the tofu skins and put them on top. The noodles, veggies, mock chicken were all yummy, but the flavor was more American than anything else. Back to the drawing board! My dream is to be able to take vegan Chinese cooking classes someday! I would love to know how to get the flavors just right. If anyone knows of any, please let me know!

7/27/11

Princess and the Pea



I love, love, love Heather Ross, and her new pretty princess prints perfectly sum up my daughter. I just may have to order both!

(found via Creature Comforts)

7/26/11

Can't Wait to Try: 'Snice, New York, NY


After we left Sacred Chow, we stumbled upon, 'Snice on Sullivan Street. Since we already ate, we just grabbed an apricot bar and a brownie, but I can't wait to go back--their sandwiches sound pretty yummy. Perfect place for us and the kids. Tons of room for them to run around, and well, be kids! As far as I could tell, they are lacto veg and all but one of their baked goods were vegan.

7/25/11

Restaurant Review: Sacred Chow (Brunch) | New York, NY

Tempeh Hash

Better than Biscuits and Gravy

Brunch Menu

Sacred Chow's interior
When the Mister and I were in New York City, we woke up a little late on Sunday morning and needed to get to breakfast quickly before our ride home. We took a stroll over to Sacred Chow in the Village, a place we have previously visited for lunch and always wanted to go back.

Their vegan brunch menu is uncomplicated and the vibe was nice and mellow. He tried the "Better than Biscuits" and I ordered the "Tempeh Hash" from the prix fixe menu. Both came with a garden salad that had the most amazing simple, yet tasty dressing. The biscuit portion of his meal were AMAZING! Super flaky and buttery. The tofu scramble was tasty and not overly flavored as was the same with the gravy. Now, the gravy looked a little unappealing, but we will forgive them. My tempeh hash had a nice sagey flavor, but after half of it was eaten, it just became a little too much of one thing. It would have been a bit nicer if the hash was served on top of the tempeh, so there was textural and flavor variations within the meal. But all in all, it was something I would get again. I think they just need to work on their presentation. A little creative garnish on top of a bowled hash? Less of a plop of gravy and more of a drizzle?

Other diners in the restaurant raved about the fritata, but I think if we were to dine there again, I would get a breakfast sandwich because the biscuits are slammin'. And the banana french toast? Holy wow. That sounds good, but maybe a bit more for sharing during a Girls' Morning Out.

As you can see, the interior is casual and clean. I have never been very comfortable while dining; their seating is just plain uncomfortable and cramped (and I am pretty petite!). We did ask to move to a four-top and our waitress told us we could not since it was brunch. Waa? The place was empty! Pft! That minor negative incident aside, I'd come back when we're up in those parts.

Rating: 7 out of 10 Scissors

Sacred Chow
227 Sullivan St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 337-0863
www.sacredchow.com

7/24/11

Scissors Craft: A Mini-Pennant was in the Bag!


Here's the big reveal! There was a mini-pennant, sporting my friend's daughter's name, in the drawstring bag I made! This is a super cute and unique present for a baby shower, newborn or a child's birthday. I have been making larger versions of these for birthday parties and birthdays before, but the mini-pennant, is just so super sweet. I'll be posting the tutorial soon. Not crafty? Don't worry, I will be selling standard and customizable ones in my etsy shop, which will hopefully be up and running by October.

7/22/11

Scissors Craft: Drawstring Pouch and a Tutorial Teaser!

What's inside?
Summertime has left me with very little time for sewing projects since the kids are home full-time (Can I say time one more time? I guess I just did!). Despite this, I have been slowly working on one very special present for a very special one-year-old! I will be posting a tutorial on how to make this very cool item next week.

In the meantime, check out this tutorial I used to make this lined drawstring gift bag/pouch by Chica and Jo. The little present is tucked safely inside! I customized it with a tag and embellishments on the drawstring. The inside is a contrasting green floral print. Super cute! I wish I had more time to work on projects like these. Fortunately for me, September is right around the corner!

Crafty Kids: Homemade Outer Space Book





"Mommy, can you draw me a coloring page?"
"Honey, I'm trying to make dinner... I don't have time."
"PLLLLLEEEEAAAASE?"
"Fine, Ok. Something quick. Aliens, ok?"
"Yes! Aliens!"

I drew a coloring page for my five-year-old daughter a few weeks ago. She then copied some of the images and created a whole book around them, complete with a story. All her own doing, with some spelling help from me. She's amazing. My little future designer.

7/20/11

Spice in the Kitchen: Easy Baked Tofu Fakin' Bacon

Tofu, pressed, thinly sliced and marinated, just waiting to hang out in the oven.
Tofu sporting a tan. Snooki would be proud.
Hi rainbow chard! Yes, you can be eaten with the fakin' bacon!
Fakin' Bacon! So crispy, so thin, so tender. You're all a girl could ever want!

I've made baked, pressed tofu before and it is always so fun to eat. I never tried making it taste like bacon though, so I thought I'd give it a shot. It was a hit at dinner time! Even my daughter loved it.

Key to making a good piece of fakin' bacon is to press all the water out of the tofu. If you eat tofu often, I recommend investing in a Tofu XPress. It's quite awesome. When the tofu is done being pressed, you can marinate it in the same tray you used to press it. Convenient!

Tofu Fakin' Bacon Recipe (vegan)
serves 2-4; prep time, 10 minutes; total time 1 hr, 45 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 block of of ORGANIC extra firm tofu (Pressed for 30 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce of tamari
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp hing (or use garlic paste to taste--not too much though!)
  • dash smoked salt (Trader Joe's sells it!)

Directions
  1. After you have pressed and removed all the water out of your tofu, slice it however you would like, but make sure the slices are thin--about 1/4 inch.
  2. Combine all marinade ingredients in a shallow dish or bowl (really, just get a Tofu Xpress, it makes doing these things so much easier!) and then thoroughly soak the pieces of tofu in marinade. If you can leave it overnight, that is the best, but if not, at least 30 minutes.
  3. While the tofu is marinating, preheat oven to 400 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spray with spray oil.
  4. When tofu is done marinating, place in a single layer on cookie sheet and place in oven for 30-45 minutes. It's your call. The longer you leave the tofu in, the crunchier it will be. 30 is tender with some crunch, 45 is crunch.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and enjoy. You can also store in the fridge for a few days and enjoy your creation as part of a FBLT sandwich!

Spice in the Kitchen: Fresh Tomato Basil Bruschetta


I miss Spain. I miss the olive oil. I miss the fresh tomatoes. Fortunately, Trader Joe's has a pretty nice and inexpensive Spanish olive oil and tomatoes are just coming in season here. I picked up a few heirloom red and green tomatoes at our local farm stand and have tons of basil in my container garden, so I just had to savor them on top of a crunchy ciabatta bread. You really only need to add salt and a really nice oil to your tomato and basil combo, but I doctored it up a bit.

Fresh Tomato Basil Bruschetta Recipe (vegan)

Ingredients
  • Chopped, fresh tomatoes (heirloom work great!)
  • Chopped basil
  • Chopped fresh oregano (use about 1/8 the qty. of basil)
  • chopped fresh parsley (just a bit, not too much)
  • salt (freshly ground Himalayan is great!)
  • Lots of Spanish olive oil (EVVO is great too.)
  • couple of dashes of balsamic vinegar

Directions
  1. Combine all in ingredients in bowl. (There are no hard of fast rules, so adjust quantities according to your tastes.)
  2. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Served chilled or at room temperature on top of crusty and/or grilled bread.

7/18/11

Restaurant Review: Zen Vegetarian House | Brooklyn, NY

Chicken Nuggets

Curry Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

After the Brooklyn Flea, we headed over to Zen Vegetarian House for lunch before working our way to the Brooklyn Museum. Both of us were starving (shaved ice is not exactly a filling breakfast!), so we were quite happy to finally sit down at Zen, a vegan Chinese place in the Prospect Park area of Brooklyn. Despite being in an unlikely area for a vegan eatery, Zen was doing a brisk business during the late afternoon and fortunately for us, they were still running their lunch specials. $6 for a hearty meal? Yes, thank you!

Zen is more for take-out, but there are about four tables inside. The women working were very sweet and there was a real neighborhood-y vibe. Simple and clean. Not date night material, but comfortable and unpretentious.

We started off with the chicken nuggets, which everyone on Yelp raved about, but we were quite disappointed to see that they were the same as the crispy soul chicken at Veg Paradise in New York. Regardless, their rosemary bread crumb coating was hot, crispy and tasty, but we were expecting more of a McNugget treatment. Anyway, no fault of theirs, more of the Yelp reviewers.

For our $6 lunch plate, I ordered the teriyaki chicken and he ordered the curry chicken. Both were freshly made, hot and filling and came with an "egg" roll and rice. We thoroughly enjoyed both. Classic, simple Chinese take-out style. And you seriously cannot beat the price.

We would both come back if in the neighborhood. I wish they had a locale in Manhattan since we don't make it out to Brooklyn very often. If you're visiting Prospect Park, check them out--they are about 5 or 6 blocks away.

Zen Vegetarian House
773 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11226

Carbfest New York Breakfast

Hello, Mr. Bialy, cousin to Mr. Bagel. Do you see the apartments across the street? Yours for only 3 million!

Good morning Valrhona chocolate doughnut!
While my kids were having fun back home with their aunty, Mr. Scissors and I were busy, busy, busy relaxing in New York. On Friday, we were all over the East Village. We had lunch at Puuk, picked up some doughnuts at Doughnut Plant, took tons of photos, people watched, visited the Tenemant Museum, wandered through SoHo and the West Village... man, my feet hurt! Wooden soled shoes are not made for walking. So, as much as I thought we'd sleep late the next day, the sun woke us up bright and early. Fortunately for me, there was a Doughnut Plant doughnut and a bialy sitting in a bag in our room just waiting to be eaten for breakfast. This is partially the reason I am on a cleansing diet right now. :)

Just Another Scissors and Spice Doodle by Ken Barber


Thanks for the doodle, Mr. Scissors! I say doodle, because I know this took him about 5 minutes to letter. He's just that good!

Follow me on Twitter to be privy to more love like this, www.twitter.com/Scissors_Spice and follow Ken if you'd like to know what he's up to too, www.twitter.com/TypeLettering.

Restaurant Review: People's Pops | New York, NY


Mr. Scissors and I went to the Brooklyn Flea on Saturday. Dang! Was it hot! We didn't pick anything up (New York flea prices are priced like high end vintage shops in Philly), but thankfully I heard the distinctive *scrape scrape* of a lovely block of ice. Low and behold! "Shaaaave ice!" I exclaimed. A savior in a hot parking lot! Thank you!

People's Pops was serving shaved ice along with gourmet/naturally flavored ice pops  I am always weary of people taking something like humble street food, and making it all sortsa high-foodie-ish-good-for-you-ish. We tried the two shaved ice flavors they were offering, red plum and rhubarb. Despite my weariness, the ice proved to be a nice earthy, fresh tasting, not-to-sweet treat and oh so refreshing in the relentless mid-day sun. I did not try a pop, but I did note the steady parade of hipsters walking around slurping them up (I'm kicking myself for not trying the rhubarb ginger flavor!). Fortunately for you, People's Pops has locations in Manhattan, so when it's hot time, summer in the city, you can cool off too! Yay! Check out their website for locales or visit the Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays in the summer.

Brooklyn Flea 
1 Hanson Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217 (In Fort Green, my new favorite neighborhood!)
718-935-1052
www.brooklynflea.com

People's Pops
425 W 15th St
New York, NY 10014
www.peoplespops.com

7/16/11

Spotted: Jemaine of Flight of the Conchords

Wow. I can't believe all we had was our crappy camera phone!
So my husband and I were strolling around the West Village after a really horrible meal at Red Bamboo (my last!) and guess who we saw? Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords! If you haven't seen the show on HBO before, you really have to check it out. I cant get enough of Mel (now the voice of one the kids on Bob's Burgers). Good stuff.

7/14/11

Spice in the Kitchen: Pineapple Mojito Mocktail

This is a refreshing non-alcholic drink perfect for accompanying summer dinners, like the Tofu Buddha Bowl!

Pineapple Mojito Mocktail Recipe (vegan)
serves one

Ingredients
  • Lime
  • Mint leaves
  • Pineapple juice
  • Club soda
  • Ice cubes

Directions
  1. In a 12-16 ounce glass, muddle slices of one 1/2 lime with 6 mint leaves.
  2. Fill glass with ice.
  3. Fill half the glass with pineapple juice and add the other half with club soda and give a stir.
  4. You may want to add simple syrup if not sweet enough.
  5. Garnish with mint leaves and a slice of lime.

Spice in the Kitchen: Tofu Buddha Bowl


I'm not exactly sure what a Buddha bowl is technically supposed to be, but I know when I have had them in restaurants, I loved them. Looking around at recipes, I determined there is no hard or fast way to prepare them; just top cooked rice with cooked or uncooked veggies and protein. Mine is inspired by a Bahn Chay salad on top of a flavored rice. You can adjust according to your  own preferences.

I enjoyed a pineapple mojito mocktail with mine. Refreshing! [Click on the link for the recipe!]

Buddha Bowl Recipe (vegan)
serves 2; prep time 15 minutes, cooking time 20 minutes

Ingredients
  • 2-3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 TB peanut butter
  • 2 TB seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 TB miso
  • cubed, baked tofu
  • veggies of your choice (I used romaine lettuce, shredded carrots and julienned cucumbers.)
  • various garnishes (lime wedges, Sriracha, cilantro, mint, peanuts, sesame seeds, etc. Your choice!)

Directions
  1. After rice is cooked, combine it with peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and miso until well combined.
  2. Chop your veggies and cube your baked tofu. (I made my own baked tofu by pressing extra firm tofu with my TofuXpress, cubing, coating it with goyza dipping sauce and baking it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes).
  3. In each person's bowl, divide rice evenly, then top with veggies and tofu and garnish. Accompany with hot sauces! Easy, right? And so yummy!