1/30/12

New in The Etsy Shop: Derby Hat Mug

I'm slowly adding new stock to the Scissors and Spice Etsy shop. I recently listed some vintage Valentine's and birthday cards, super hip vintage Mad Men-esque pocketbooks, and I just posted this cute derby hat coffee mug. Perfect gift for your hipster husband Valentine; serve him some Stumptown Coffee in it on cupid's morning coupled with some yummy vegan Elvis muffins. He'll love you so much for being so thoughtful that he'll try to remember to buy you flowers and a chocolate heart on his way home from work. It's love!

Spice in the Kitchen: If Elvis Were a Vegan Muffins


We all know that peanut butter and bananas are two great tastes that taste great together. Add chocolate to that mix and it's a triple threat! If Elvis was a vegan, he would have wanted these muffins for breakfast! My kids loved them and you will too. They're super moist and dense and get nice little boost of nutrition thanks to spelt flour and wheat germ.

Thanks to my friend Åsa from Sweet Om who brought back these Swedish cupcake liners for me from her homeland of Sweden! Greaseproof Swedish cupcake papers are the best I have ever used!


Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Muffin Recipe (vegan)
Makes 1-2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 TB molasses
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/8 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/8 cup natural, no sugar added peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (optional)


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Mush bananas well and mix with sugars and molasses. Add Earth Balance, mix, and then add almond milk, vanilla and peanut butter and mix well.
  3. Sift together flours, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to wet mixture until just combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips and peanuts.
  5. Scoop 1/8 cup of batter into liners (for small muffins [pictured]) and bake for 20 minutes or use 1/4 cup of batter (for larger muffins) and bake for 22-25 minutes.
  6. Optional: drizzle with melted chocolate for that special finishing touch.

1/28/12

Paperwhites

A morning alone with my little ones: organizing, cleaning, and playing, and what did I discover behind the curtain on a sunny windowsill? The paperwhites they planted a few weeks ago have finally bloomed! Such amazement and wonderment. "This is the best smell I ever did smell!" Indeed.

1/24/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Marinated Spicy Napa Cabbage & Apple Salad

I'm continuing on my health and detox kick and trying to get more raw veggies in my diet. I love cabbage, but regular white cabbage can be a little too intense and tough when eaten raw. However, napa cabbage is like the smooth operator of cruciferous vegetables with it's tender leaves and mellow flavor! It's so much easier to eat uncooked.

The inspiration for this dish came from a raw purple cabbage salad served at one of my favorite vegan restaurants, Su Tao in Malvern, PA. My recipe includes a combo of apples and cabbage, which, incidentally, seems very PA Dutch to me. Amish-Asian fusion! You saw it here first!


Marinated Spicy Napa Cabbage & Apple Salad Recipe (vegan, gluten free, [mostly] raw)
serves 2-4; prep time: 20 minutes


Ingredients


Dressing:
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TB mirin (or other sweetener) optional
  • 1/2 TB grainy mustard
  • 1/2 TB fresh minced ginger
  • 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • 2 TB natural apple juice
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • sea salt to taste
  • sesame seeds for garnish

Vegetables:
  • 5-6 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 granny smith apple, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • would also work: add shredded, baked tofu and/or 1 shredded red bell pepper


Directions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
  2. Add prepared veggies to bowl and coat well with dressing. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Alternately, you can serve immediately. Top with sesame seeds before serving.

1/23/12

This Weekend: Snow and Happy Chinese New Year

Fashionably late, winter has finally arrived in the mid-Atlantic.

Though we are horrible at taking flattering photos of ourselves, we always manage to have a good time.
 新年快乐!

How was your weekend? Meet friends for fun? Eat anything yummy? Make anything cool?

1/21/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Raw Breakfast Slaw

Good morning, good morning, good morning to you! Breakfast is something I often overlook. After rushing the kids off to school, cleaning up the mess from their breakfasts, looking over email, drinking tea, etc., it can often be 11:30 before I realize that I have not yet eaten. Not only is that not great in a nourishing-yourself-sorta-way, it's bad for your metabolism. So, in an effort to take better care of myself, I am trying to slow down and make time for breakfast in the mornings.

After coming off a 2-day juice fast, I wanted something raw to ease back into solid food. I decided to use some granny smith apples I had on hand. I also recently ordered a spiral slicer which produces the most beautiful ribbons of veggies and fruits (my new favorite kitchen gadget!) so I was über excited to take it for a test spin. I ran the apple through the spiraler and then came up with the idea for a breakfast slaw mixed with tons of nourishment. And it's vegan and gluten free to boot! It has a really nice balance of sweet, salty, and savory and instantly became a new favorite that will certainly make it into my breakfast rotation. Plus there's just something so fun about twirling pasta-like apples around a fork!

Leave out the nut butter and add some chickpeas for a sweet and savory light salad perfect as a side dish or for lunch.

Apple, Raisin, and Walnut Breakfast Slaw with Nut Butter (vegan, gluten free)
serves one; prep time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 granny smith apple run through a spiral slicer (Grate the apple if you don't have one.)
  • 1 carrot run through a spiral slicer (Grate the carrot if you don't have one.)
  • 1 rib of organic celery, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp unfiltered, organic apple cider
  • dash or two of sea salt
  • 1/8-1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/8 cup organic raisins (or chopped dates or cranberries or a mix of all would work)
  • 1 TB sugar-free nut butter (I used peanut butter, but almond would be another great choice.)


Directions

  1. In a bowl, toss together apples, carrots, celery, apple cider vinegar, and salt.
  2. Top apple slaw with raisins and walnuts. Drizzle nut butter on top and enjoy!

Great idea from a Facebook reader: Add a dash a cinnamon to the mix!

1/20/12

Around the House: Mini Catherineholm Bowl & Portuguese Rooster

View of the windowsill in my kitchen. The mini Catherineholm lotus bowl serves as a ring holder for when I am rolling dough or performing other messy tasks, and the teeny Portuguese rooster, a gift from my sister-in-law, is a deliverer of good luck and a reminder of my paternal heritage.

1/18/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Super Kale, Raisin, & Raw Pepita Salad


I'm not big on posting salad recipes because as Snooki would say, they're so obvies, but this salad I made for lunch yesterday was such a winning combo that I just had to share!

Super Kale, Raisin, & Raw Pepita Salad Recipe (vegan, gluten free)

Ingredients
  • Organic spring mix
  • Finely chopped kale
  • Raw Pepitas
  • Chopped organic sweet red peppers
  • Organic raisins (Always use organic raisins!)
  • Hummus

Directions
In a bowl, add ingredients in whatever proportions are to your liking, just go heavy on the greens. A ratio of 3:1 spring mix to kale is good if you feel iffy about eating raw kale (trust me, it's good!). Serve with a big scoop of your favorite hummus on top! Voila! No need for dressing, but you could toss the salad with a drizzle of olive oil before topping it with hummus.

1/17/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Choliya and Methi Curry


Ok, I know you're thinking? What the what the who? Choliya is simply a green, unhulled chickpea, and methi are the leaves of the fenugreek plant (they have a very mellow flavor similar to spinach). You can get both in Indian stores and if you can't find those, use regular chickpeas and spinach as a substitute.

This curry is warm, tasty, and satisfying dish and will leave you feeling full for a long period of time due to it's high fiber content. Perfect, healthy diet food!

Choliya and Methi Curry Recipe (Green Chickpeas and Fenugreek Leaves) (vegan)
serves 2

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp - 1 TB oil (Use less or more depending on your calorie counting.)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 2 tsp ginger paste or minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced finely (optional)
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp corriander
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 package (2 cups) of frozen choliya (green chickpeas), or substitute regular chickpeas
  • 6-8 cups of roughly chopped methi leaves (about 2 bunches)
  • sea salt to taste
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges for serving

Directions
  1. In a pan, heat oil and then sauté red pepper, ginger, and garlic for a minute. Add dry spices and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add frozen choliya and stir to coat. Saute in spices for a about five minutes.
  3. Pulse the roughly chopped methi (you can leave the tender stems) in a food processor until it is finely shredded.
  4. Place the shredded methi in the sauté pan with the choliya, give it a few stirs to mix with the bean, and shut off heat. Leave the greens as raw as possible to retain nutrients.
  5. Serve the choliya topped with cut tomatoes and serve with lemon slices to squeeze over top. Vegan yogurt and spicey tamarind chutney make great accompaniments.


Shop the Props!
Napkins: West Elm

1/16/12

Spotted: Pretty Bird Bowl at Terrain

A quick trip to Terrain this weekend led me to this bowl. Though it was on clearance, I did not think Mr. Scissors would be very happy if I brought home a $100+ piece of pottery.

1/15/12

This Weekend: Nature and the Brandywine River


Rosy cheeks. Crunchy leaves. Bright sun. Vintage dioramas. Moss on rocks. Early 3D.



 Rushing water. Brisk walks. Pretty history. Red life forms. Stillness.

Scissors Craft: Make Your Own Thank You Cards Coloring Pages

My children are fortunate to have several sets of Santas coupled with birthdays very close to Christmas. I'm old fashioned and insist that they formally acknowledge their gifts with a note. To make it easier on them, I devised a plan so they wouldn't be writing thank you notes into March.

My 5-year-old daughter lettered a thank you card, penned from both her and her younger brother, leaving a blank spot for the gift giver's name. I photocopied the original onto colored paper, and after my daughter addressed each, the kids decorated them with markers and stamps. My son happily took on envelope enhancing duty.


Not only was this a fun activity involving the whole family, it teaches the children etiquette and appreciation, and develops language, communication and fine motor skills. Win-win!

1/12/12

Spice in the Kitchen: PB Banana Cacao Almond Milk Smoothie

I have been "detoxing" if you will. For me, that means no processed food, no dairy, no gluten, and no refined sugars. Sounds really limiting, but once you cleanse yourself, it gets harder and harder to get back to your old ways because you realize how good you feel eating simply. You also end up losing your taste for the crap that you used to eat.

There is a whole science behind this way of cleansing, but I'm not going to get into it now. If you are interested in this subject, I would suggest reading The Martha's Vineyard Detox and The Crazy Sexy Diet. Both are eye opening reads. Or, if you don't like to read, watch Food Matters. It's available for free through Netflix and online.

Though this may not be a green drink, but it's gluten-free, vegan, and free of refined sugars. (I'm trying to ease out of my eating to party ways before I go all green.) You may want to add a liquid sweetener to it, but it really doesn't need it. The bananas make it sweet enough. I have had this smoothie for breakfast the past couple of days along with spirulina tablets and then have been eating tons of green veggies the rest of the day. It's healthy and feels like you are drinking dessert, so you are mentally and physically satisfied. Who knew a smoothie could do all that?

Peanut Butter Banana Cacoa Almond Milk Smoothie (vegan)
serves 1

In a blender, add:

  • 8 ounces of organic, unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 TB raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TB natural, no-sugar peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract (optional)
  • 6-8 ice cubes
Blend all on high power until smooth. Drink and enjoy.

1/10/12

It's a "Clear Off Scissors & Spice's Etsy Shelves" Sale!


While I'm picking up the pieces left over from about 3 months of intense extracurricular activities (Read: My house is a disaster. My laundry needs to be folded. Please don't even think of going into my room, because you will get lost or a pile of something will fall on you.), I realized that I have so much stock to get into the shop, but before I do that, I must clear off the shelves to make way for the new-to-you vintage goodies. Will you help? You will? Great!

Head on over to www.etsy.com/shop/ScissorsAndSpice and use coupon code "SSTWENTY" for 20% off your entire purchase!

1/9/12

My Birthday (Week!)



Birthdays should never be confined to a day, right? In our house, they never are! Since my birthday falls after Christmas and New Year's, everyone is generally spent and party-pooped (and then add having kids and a mid-week affair, you pretty much have no get up and gumption to do anything). On the evening of my birthday, Mr. Scissors and I quietly celebrated at a near-by restaurant while our babysitter watched the kids. I was very excited that he got me the immersion blender I have been wanting, a vintage Scandinavian tea towel (love!) and some lovely music. Oh, did I mention that most of my birthday daylight was spent running around Philly and New Castle County gathering paperwork for my new federally compliant driver's license? That was, well, interesting, to say the least. Philadelphia city hall is a beautiful building filled with some of the most intriguing stories you will ever witness.

Then, as the weekend approached, I decided to take alone time as my next gift. When I told my 5 year-old daughter that I was going on a mommy solo trip for my birthday, she replied, "That doesn't sound very nice! I wouldn't want to spend my birthday alone!" (Trust me dear, you will understand when you are also a mommy.) I spent the day thrifting, shopping, relaxing, manicuring, reality-TV watching in my spacious hotel room, and some more relaxing (and totally forgot to eat!). I slept soundly on my king sized bed with no one waking me up about dropped stuffed animals and having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. (Thanks Mr. Scissors for giving me some much needed R&R!)



The next day, I headed to New Hope to have brunch at Sprig and Vine with some lovely friends. Not only was the meal spectabulous, these awesome ladies gave me wonderful presents, including blog props, homemade jam, a subscription to Vegetarian Times and fun reading material.

Overall, I am happy to be maturing. Happy to be older. Happy to have a wonderful husband whom I love dearly and beautiful and smart children. Happy to finally be coming into my own. Happy to have friends that genuinely care about me. Happy to have this blog and etsy shop. Happy to not have needs that can't be met. Happy to have health. Happy to have love. I have a very blessed life. xo!

1/8/12

Vintage Children's Books: Be My Valentine Charlie Brown




My children love Charlie Brown. I'm so glad they do because I can totally relate to Charles. Only he would get a conversation heart with the wording, "FORGET IT KID!"

1/7/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Coconut Macadamia Cookies

Just when I thought I was about to pack up the Kitchen Aid until Valentine's, Mr. Scissors informed me that a Kiwi-designer friend of his was on holiday in the US and one of his stops was my husband's studio. Always willing to bake for a visitor, I offered to make cookies.

This recipe is a vegan adaptation of Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip cookie recipe. For a classic chewy chocolate chip cookie leave out the nuts, coconut, and rum extract.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Coconut Macadamia Cookie Recipe (vegan)
makes about 3-4 dozen cookies


Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 1/2 cup vegan yogurt
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 (to 1/2) cups of AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup of chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Mix margarine, sugars, vanilla and rum extracts until combined. Scrape down sides of the mixing bowl and add yogurt and cornstarch and mix until well combined. 
  2. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Add dry mixture to wet. If the dough seems too wet, add 1/4 cup of additional flour. Fold in coconut, macadamia nuts and chocolate chips. 
  4. Let dough chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. 
  6. Place rounded tablespoons of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving 2" in between each cookie.
  7. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the edges are slightly browned. (The middle may look slightly undercooked, but this will allow for a softer cookie.)
  8. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a minute and transfer to a cooling rack.

1/4/12

Design Inspiration: Cindy's and Helen's Restaurants

Cindy's; Scituate, RI

Helen's; Wilmington, DE

I wish my name was Cindy or Helen so I could take over one of these places and turn it into a vegan diner.

1/2/12

Restaurant Review | Lion's Den Vegetarian Restaurant

Lion's Den, Hartford, CT, Ratsa Vegetarian Restuarant
My kids playing with their new Christmas toys
Interior
Rastaurant! 
Ital Amalgamation Plate
Veggie Pockets!
For years, we would make the trek up to Massachusetts for Christmas only to get stuck in miserable parking-lot like traffic on 95 in Connecticut. This year, I had to chart a different course and after realizing that driving a bit more north into Hartford really didn't add much time to the trip we decided to make the change. Though we lamented we would not make our annual visit/lunch stop to Bloodroot in Bridgeport, we would be able to dine a new-to-us restaurant instead. There were a couple in the Hartford area according to Happy Cow, but I totally forgot to print any info out before we left, so I typed "vegetarian" into the GPS and Lion's Den popped up. Only it was the wrong address, so after a series of phone calls, we finally made it to their newer location. (Time to finally update those GPS maps!)

We were a little confused when we entered as to what was on the menu. There was a small dry erase board with some things written down and another more permanent menu above the cash register.  A very nice and patient man behind the counter helped us and assured us that nothing had "ovo or lacto" in it. When I asked him, "So everything is vegan?" He replied, "If that is what they call it now!" Seeing how confused we were, he suggested we get the "amalgamation plate." I found this term for a mix of everything quite endearing and has now made it into our family's daily vocabulary. We also ordered an assortment of veggie pockets that were displayed in a glass case and a "festive" bread to have on hand for lunch while we stayed at my mom's house.

I think some people may have been off put by the um, hole-in-the-wallness of the mostly take-out atmosphere, but having spent lots of time in India, I'm used to different standards in dining experiences. As my children happily played with their new Christmas gifts/electronic games, we sat on two of the three barstools and waited for our plate to sample.

After a few minutes, one giant plate filled with rice, beans, tofu stew, "vegetable chunk" stew and greens was placed before us. Since we hadn't eaten breakfast and it was now 2 in the afternoon, we were really, really hungry. I don't mean to sound corny, but, mon, the first bite was like receiving a hug in my belly. Everything was tasty and simple, and my husband and I both agreed, felt very nourishing and satisfying. Super ital. The veggie chunk stew, with it's mellow coconut curry flavor was by far my favorite. We needed more, so we ordered two more amalgamation plates to go and agreed that if we lived in Hartford, we would eat there every day. For the total of 3-4 days worth of food, we only spent $40.

As we were getting ready to pay, another customer came in, and over the course of conversation, he explained how good this restaurant was and how everyone in the neighborhood loves it. He suggested to the owner that we try the cornmeal banana porridge. Another hug to the belly! So simple, but again so tasty and nourishing.

I'm not 100% positive, but I do think they serve fish, but none was on the menu the day we were there, so it wasn't an issue for us.

If you are in Connecticut, you simply have to check out Lion's Den. They don't have a website, so check out Yelp. If you're not, start learning how to cook Carribean/ Ratsa Ital. When we got to my my mom's house, I ordered, "The Rasta Cookbook" stat to start cooking this way at home. Can't wait until I have time to cook!

The Lion's Den Vegetarian Restaurant
3347 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06120-1110
(860) 241-0220

1/1/12

Spice in the Kitchen: Vegan Mocha Brownies with Ganache

I know, you are all probably doing the post-holidays battle of the bulge right now, but when you want to cheat or bookmark a recipe for Valentine's Day, here's your one for you! I'll be fighting the good fight right along with you, so stay tuned. I'm going to be doing a nourishing whole foods cleanse in the next few months with some nice, simple, veggie-heavy vegan dishes and I will be sure to share the recipes with you.

May we all have a happy and healthy New Year!

Vegan Mocha Brownies with Ganache Sorta-Recipe
Makes about 16 squares

I used an adaptation of this recipe of another recipe excepted I omitted the chocolate chips in the end and added 2 tsp espresso powder, a dash of cinnamon and 1 TB finely-ground coffee grinds to the margarine mixture.

After the brownies had cooled I topped them with a thick layer of ganche using this ganache recipe (except the only milk-like substance I had was Silk Soy nog and it worked really, really well). I also added a teaspoon of espresso powder.

Shop the Props:
Deer Plate: Anthropologie